Sunday, December 20, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
Saturday, December 5, 2015
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
When nothing seems to be going our way and we don't think we can overcome hard trials, it's so comforting to know that Jesus Christ knows exactly what you're feeling. Hold on thy way for God shall be with you forever and ever.
Love you all!
Monday, November 16, 2015
This week was really good. One funny thing that happened was we went over to visit a family in one of the new areas we were assigned to cover. The previous Elders in that area said the whole family wanted to join the church. So we went over and we see this old guy sleeping and right then I had a pretty good feeling either we were at the wrong house or this family with the baptismal date doesn't exist. We started talking to him and it became pretty clear that there is no way this guy is getting baptized. It was funny but frustrating at the same time.
One thing I love about the people here is that they don't judge people. There will be kids passing the sacrament with no shoes on with a white shirt that probably hasn't been washed in six months and you don't see anyone giving dirty looks. It's just something that I think is awesome about Samoa and the loving people here.
Another thing I think is interesting here is the cars. They remind me of cars you would customize in like a 2004 Need For Speed video game. They have these massive spoilers, crazy lights all over the place including under the car, and the rims are exotic, plus all the random badging and stuff they put all over the car. I just keep thinking I'm in a Tokyo drift movie or something.
Most nights there is either volleyball or basketball being played at the church building. For relief society they come and play basketball together. It gets intense. I just picture the relief society in my ward and I just start laughing. They play all night too.
I'm starting to adjust to the food a little bit. Most nights we just get fried chicken and karo. Karo is basically like a potato but it's way better for you. When you see all those massive Polynesians walking around that are just ripped out of their minds, it's because they eat karo. Sometimes they bring out fish that they just fry and you can still see the eyes and stuff. Ramen is another thing that everyone eats. I usually have ramen for lunch every day. Luckily, they have tons of flavors.
I'm just so grateful to be here as an instrument in the Lord's hands doing HIS work. I know that if I just teach by the spirit it doesn't matter how good or bad my Samoan is. All they need is to feel the spirit and then they'll have that desire to learn more. I know this is the Lord's work. I can't believe I've already been here for a month. It's gone so fast.
Alofa ia te outou
Elder Tana (what we tell people now just to make it easy)
Sunday, November 8, 2015
I have my first baptism Saturday and I'm doing the baptism!!!!! Super stoked! We also have two other investigators committed to be baptized on the 28th.
I can't believe I've already been gone for two months. It's gone extremely fast. I still can't believe I'm actually here getting to share the gospel (the very little I can in Samoan) in such a beautiful place.
I'll just kinda keep doing what I've been doing, running through each day. Hopefully everyone is okay with that.
Sunday was really good. For Sacrament meeting it was the primary program. Little Samoan kids sing really loud. They all memorized their parts too, which was impressive. That night during planning, one of the Assisstants to the President called us and said we now cover two more wards which tripled our area. He said that there are a lot of families that want to meet with missionaries so I'm really excited for that.
We pretty much walk everywhere but last night we got a call form the AP saying we're now covering Sale'imoa village (which kinda translates to the chicken hasn't yet come) which has two wards so our area kinda tripled in size. We're gonna ride bikes now.
This is the rest of our sweet pad!
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
our bedroom - pretty tight quarters
Sunday, October 25, 2015
One thing I love is when we're walking around, the little kids probably around 2 or 3 just sit out in their fales' and will yell "faifeau tala`i" (missionary) and then "fa" (bye) in the cutest little high-pitched voices. I love that.
I still can't believe I'm here. It's so beautiful. I love you all so much and think and pray for you guys constantly!
Alofa ia te latou!!
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tomorrow I head out for SAMOA!!!! The MTC went so fast and I'm so grateful for the learning opportunities and the great experiences I have had. I'm really gonna miss the MTC a lot. My first week here, we were all saying goodbye to the Fijians and I thought how I wish that was me, I wanna just get out of here already. The Branch President said something that night that I never thought I would understand. He said leaving the MTC is harder than leaving your family. At the time I was like no way. But now that it's my turn to leave and go out in the field, I agree with him. It hit me that I will probably never see 99% of the people I met here. I have become such great friends with so many missionaries it's gonna be really hard to say goodbye. It helps to know I will see my family again in two years.
That night we sang a little farewell thing for us with the whole zone. The spirit was SOO strong. We hardly know what we are singing when we sing in Samoan but we still are able to feel the spirit which is awesome.
Alofa ia te latou!
Just a note from mom and dad. Justin arrived in Samoa after about 20 hours on a plane and about that long sitting in airports. Here he is in Samoa with his Mission President and his wife. Let the adventure begin!
Saturday, October 10, 2015
This week was exciting. Getting to watch conference at the MTC was a great experience. I think this was the first conference weekend in my life I watched every session and I loved it. One of the main things I took away from conference is what President Uchtdorf said in the very first talk of conference. He talked about preaching the gospel plainly. I feel like this applies to everyone, not just missionaries. A lot of people have a lot of questions about our church and if we just give them simple answers, it will help them understand what we believe. I feel like this will be pretty easy for me in Samoa cause I can only say simple sentences and concepts. That's just one thing that stuck out to me and made me think about how I can make it easier for the people I teach to understand the gospel.
Monday, October 5, 2015
I can't believe it's already been almost a month! It's all gone really fast. I'm learning a lot and I'm starting to realize I know more Samoan than I give myself credit for. I'm starting to feel more and more confident as time goes on but no matter how much I study, I know nothing can prepare me for being in Samoa.
Friday, September 25, 2015
In the other Samoan district there is an Elder from Tonga going to Samoa. He only spoke Tongan when he got to the MTC so he had to learn English and Samoan. To learn the languages, he'll get a Tongan, Samoan, and English "Preach my Gospel" book, read the Tongan one then the Samoan one and then the English one and will understand it. It's crazy, we can carry out conversations in English and he understands it. I wish that happened to me.
The lessons we've been giving in Samoan with no notes to investigators have been getting better. I just have to memorize so much and I know I wouldn't be able to do it without a lot of prayer. The language is very slowly getting better.
I'm excited for General Conference next weekend because that means no class
for 11 hours. I'll definitely be able to focus more on what the speakers say and I
think it's cool that I'll be in the MTC when it happens.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
I made it safe and sound and I know I am in the right place at the right time. I got dropped off at the MTC at 1:45 and a missionary helped me get situated. The first thing I did was get my name tag. Putting it on was something I had anticipated for a really long time. I feel like a different person with it knowing that I'm a representative of Christ. Then I went to go get all my Samoan books and learning materials, dropped everything off in my room and then went straight to my classroom. I walked in and all the teacher was speaking was Samoan. No English whatsoever. I was completely overwhelmed and was totally lost but at the same time it was super cool just to listen. I've been here for just three days but I'm starting to understand and recognize what people are saying sometimes. My companion is Elder Redd. He is from Logan, Utah. Later, we went to a big meeting with all of the new missionaries. It is so comforting and amazing knowing that there are 2,000 plus people here with the same purpose and goals as me. As a new missionary something they put on your name tag is an orange dot letting people know you're new. I took it off within the first couple hours cause I couldn't handle everyone all over the place saying, "Welcome to the MTC!!!" Our Branch (a bunch of districts) is by far the coolest at the MTC. Our district has 10 people in it all learning Samoan. Elders and Sisters in our branch are all going to island missions in the South Pacific speaking either Samoan, Tongan, Marshallese, and Fijian. In the dorms where we sleep there are a ton of Polynesians. Quiet time starts at 10:15 and bed time is at 10:30. From about 10 to 11 all you hear is the Polynesians doing the Haka all over the place. It's cool but at the same time I'm trying to sleep. These past couple days have been so awesome. I love this gospel and the happiness it brings me. I'll write y'all in a week.